Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
To my mind, the three governor's races that have changed the most in the last couple of months are Maryland (where former Gov. Bob Ehrlich jumped in), Arizona (where Gov. Jan Brewer's chances, at least in the Republican primary, improved overnight) and Massachusetts.
The difference in Massachusetts is that there's not just one event that has changed things. Instead, it's that Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill keep battling for turf in opposition to Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. As Baker and Cahill fight with each other and move further to the right, Patrick's chances keep looking better and better.
The latest example of this dynamic is the wind power project off of Cape Cod that the federal government just approved. From the Boston Globe:
To Governor Deval Patrick, a long-time champion of the project who is waging a tough reelection campaign, it means a political victory, bolstering his argument that his administration is pioneering efforts to promote clean and renewable energy.
Patrick's strong support stands in contrast with his two main opponents in the governor's race, Republican Charles D. Baker, who expresses deep skepticism about Cape Wind, and state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, an independent who called the federal decision yesterday a mistake.
The governor has been pushing for Cape Wind since 2006, and he was beaming yesterday as he stood with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, lauding what he sees as the project's benefits: 1,000 new construction jobs and enough energy to power 75 percent of the Cape and Islands.
It's worth remembering, of course, that a lot of people are quite critical of the Cape Wind project. The critics aren't just rich people with beach homes complaining about the effect on their views. There are real questions as to whether or not Cape Wind will lower energy costs.
But, Patrick doesn't need even need a majority of Massachusetts residents to support him on this or anything else. With Cahill and Baker dividing the opposition, he just needs a sufficiently large minority on his side. In the three-way race, 40% should be enough to win.
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